A big frustration for many people is having too many things on their lists or, alternatively, not thinking they have enough options when faced with a problem.

Think about “Minimum Three, Maximum Seven, Optimum Five”.

This is a great rule to keep things simple, make better decisions and assist with planning for business or personal issues. The key is to force your thinking to come up with at least three or more items on any list you prepare (minimum three), and to limit the list to no more than seven (maximum seven).  The optimum number is five.  This rule can be used in many facets of our everyday lives, and helps to clarify thinking, and make decision making easier.  Start looking around
and I am sure you will see it in practice, and many places where it can be applied.

If you have an issue that needs to get sorted and you can only think of one or two solutions, keep thinking until you have at least three.  If you are brainstorming and have created a list of ideas or options that is very long, go through and prioritise the list.  Often, as you are prioritising, you will see that some of the options are really just hybrids of each other.  Reword and shrink your list down to maximum seven.  Some items may become part of others within your list.  The end result of this is a very manageable and focused list of three-seven items.  Five is the most manageable number, and often gives the best results in terms of being most effective with resources available.

Extensions of this rule are everywhere.

• How many staff do you manage (effectively)?
• How many projects are you running (successfully) at one time?
• How many (quality) meetings did you have today?
• How many (important) customers/clients do you have that you manage very well?
• How many (profi table) products / services / divisions does your company have?

Look for the three-seven rule in your business.  It may help you solve issues in a way that you just haven’t used before.

The Alternative Board - OwnersAuckland EastMinimum 3, Maximum 7 (Optimum 5)
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